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How to Grow Vegetables in Your Apartment

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How to Grow Vegetables in Your Apartment

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Overview

No supermarket produce can compare to the taste of a fresh, home-grown vegetables. Apartment dwellers don't have the space for a full vegetable plot, but anyone with a sunny window and room for houseplants can grow a serviceable salad garden indoors. Many vegetable plants come in compact varieties, and some others require less space to grow than you might think. While a few plants may not provide a huge harvest, they can satisfy that craving for farm-fresh produce.

Step 1

Look for a sunny window that gets a minimum of eight hours of light each day, though more is better. If you do not have that, you can supplement the remaining hours with plant lights, which are specifically designed for promoting photosynthesis in plants grown indoors. Allow direct sunlight for as long as possible each day, then turn on the grow lights for the remaining time until your plants have gotten as much as 14 to 16 hours of combined light each day.

Step 2

Choose smaller plants. Cherry tomatoes, many pepper varieties, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash and bush beans require a 12 inch or 14 inch pot. Loose leaf lettuce varieties, baby carrots, radishes, spinach, mustard greens, scallions and most herbs can be grown in large window boxes.

Step 3

Maximize your space. Make use of hanging baskets, wire shelves (wire lets more light through) or plant stands placed in front of windows to get a larger harvest out of little square footage. If you have larger planters for grouping plants, put them on plant dollies for easy mobility.

Step 4

Transplant seedlings or sow seeds directly into an appropriate-size container and fill it with a soil-less growing medium. Make sure each container has something beneath it to catch muddy water drippings. Protect your floor with a rubber mat under planters.

Step 5

Turn your planters every two or three days so that a different angle catches the direct sunlight. This will promote even growth and keep your plants from growing on a slant toward the window.

Step 6

Keep vegetable plants damp but not soggy. Water the soil, but keep the foliage dry. Fertilize them by applying a water-soluble fertilizer at half strength every two weeks.

Step 7

Keep your indoor temperature at 85 degrees or cooler, especially at night. Many vegetable plants won't set fruit if temperatures repeatedly reach above 85 degrees.

Step 8

Pollinate your vegetable plants yourself, since you won't have nature doing it. Get an electric toothbrush and, when your plants blossom, hold the vibrating toothbrush against each branch for 20 or 30 seconds. Do this two or three times a week to help ensure proper pollination or your plants may not set fruit.

Step 9

Give your plants extra time. Vegetables grown indoors can take longer to grow and produce than those grown outdoors in full sunlight, but your persistence can pay off with a flourishing apartment garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Plant lights (optional)
  • Planters
  • Wire shelves or hanging baskets
  • Plant dollies (optional)
  • Seeds or starter plants
  • Soil-less growing med
  • Rubber mat
  • Water-soluble fertilizer
  • Electric toothbrush

References

  • "Growing Vegetables Indoors;" Steve Meyerowitz;1990
  • Gardening Resources: Grow Vegetables Indoors Simply and Safely with an LED Plant Light
  • AgriLife Extension: Vegetable Gardening In Containers
Keywords: grow vegetables, garden indoors, apartment garden, vegetable plants

About this Author

Mackenzie Wright has been freelancing for the last 8 years in the arts of writing, painting, photography, crafts, and teaching classes on the arts. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Education. Her writing has been featured in publications such as the Saint Petersburg Times, South Florida Parenting Magazine, and Home Education Magazine.